Your Cart

  • Title
  • Copies
  • Price

The Elephants

from The Green Monk

Marcus Slease


The silent star. The silent sharks. The silent pebbles in the distance. The floating heart exquisite mystery. A transparent and ghostly seagull walks the railings. It hops along the footpath. She feels the sympathy of fish. And flowering trees. Time is short. Time is long. The bloated moon rubs its belly.


Up ahead there is a large group of middle aged Peruvian women. There is a laugh & also a scream. Another kind of ha ha. A laugh to chase away fear. Suddenly she sees it. A giant rat. More like a small cat. The rat stares at her. Then it runs past her. It does not stop to look back. She wets her whistle & dons her coat of many colours. Up the mountain a portal for small children. The hollowed cavern. Cabbage heads and sunken tea leaves. New nuts on old branches.


He frosts the cracks. On his knees. Under the sink. Along the floor. On his tiptoes. Near the ceiling. Around the hinges. It is very smooth. Then it dries. He frosts more cracks. Around the kitchen sink. Around the fridge. Around the washing machine & cooker. Shadow flickers across the floor. They wiggle their radio antennas. Some find a special seat for a feast. They dip under the toilet seat to eat. He opens the refrigerator and twists the packages and clips them. He opens the cupboards and twists the packages and clips them. He sits at the wobbly table and looks at the three cacti. Tiny objects fly from the cacti. He claps his hands. He claps his hands. They fly through the cracks in his hands. The cracks grow. He frosts more cracks. The cracks grow. He frosts more cracks. The cracks grow. He frosts more cracks.


for Méret Oppenheim

They turn on the drone. He places his clean shirt and jeans on the chair. Next to his side of the bed. The skin of the sky cracks open. An egg. He taps it against the sweating walls and puts it in their two sided fryer. He boils the bald egg in hot water. He looks out the steamy window. Bald heads of bread peep out of fur. A small tribe roast chickens over a fire. The bubbles are getting louder. It is very steamy. He pulls the eggs out of the boiling water. He opens the cupboard. The egg cups are coated in fur.


Flamenco fans, beer huggers, small rubber squeegees to wipe the mirrors. They rub the lamp. There is no magic genie. There is no magic carpet. A salted cod climbs inside their mouth holes. They walk past the bull ring. It is a safe day for the bull ring she says. They enter the ring. The tables groan with vegetables. Barrels of salty pickles and wheelbarrows of watermelons. Giant Spuds covered in mud. Sprightly spring onions with their roots trailing behind them. They pick up the spud. It is shapely and very comely. It is a beautiful spud he says. They finger the spud and also the sprightly spring onions. It is a beautiful onion she says. They leave the bullring with their suitcases full of veggies. The wheels brake. They drag the suitcases on the ground. It is midnight. A lady’s voice calls out the numbers. The numbers echo off the toothy buildings. They bounce off the washing line and metal shutters. They do not know if she is selling something or if it is a warning. They keep starting over. They leave one country for another.


She walks to the sink with her little clay pot and a satchel of salt. The satchel of salt is free of iodine. It comes from the deep mountains of the north. First she warms the water then she pours it into the clay teapot. She tears the satchel with her sharp canines and pours the pure contents into the little clay tea pot. Then she tilts her head to the left and pours the little teapot down her right nostril. All of the gunk comes out of her left nostril. She tilts her head to the right and pours the little teapot down her left nostril. All of the gunk comes out of her right nostril. Baptism is the key to everything. We baptize the dishes in soapy water so they can be used again tomorrow. We baptize the peaches pears and plums. We baptize our faces to wake up.


His brother slept with Roland Rat. Roland Rat had floppy ears, a large pink tongue, and sometimes sunglasses. He slept with giant rabbits. One of the rabbits was called thumper. When thumper thumped his tail on the ground something was coming. Like big diggers. The big diggers ripped up the earth. They destroyed the bunkers. The red eyes of the rabbits glowed and glowed. They were called bright eyes burning like fire.


Young boys and girls are swapping the cards of saints. We do not have saints. We only have fish. We pull out our fish cards. We play Go Fish. Here is the game of Go Fish. I ask my partner for the face value. Alice I say. Do you have such and such face value. No says Alice. Go fish says Alice. I dive into the pool. I keep pulling and pulling. In this city fish is very popular. It is one of many fish centers. Neot is the patron saint of fish. He is only four feet tall. He is very small. In a book about St. Neot King Alfred burns the cakes. Why did he burn the cakes? He was supposed to be watching the cakes. The peasant woman scolds him. Watch the cakes Alfred says the peasant woman. But Alfred is worried about the barbarians. It is hard to watch the cakes when you are worried about the barbarians. The barbarians are just around the corner. They are always around the corner. We keep watching the cakes.


He rode in a maluch and dated a miner’s daughter. The maluch was very small. They had to jump start it in winter. In summer it was rock climbing. The rock climbers pointed their toes into holes and angled their fingers. The rocks were rated. 6 and above meant very hard. The easier rocks looked like cheese. He was not good at jamming his fingers and toes into cramped spaces. He was not a good rock climber. He took pictures. He was a voyeur. Maybe also a voyager. At midnight Wisniowka from the bathtub. At dawn a silent kiss. It was Forever Young. It was 99 red balloons. The mirror on the sliding door was endless copulations. It was reality contaminated by dreams.


They put the bottom half of his body to sleep and kept the top half awake. This is new mesh from India they said. Top of the line they said. He could feel the pull. The tugs and stretches. He saw the little headlights from the doctors as they peered into his groin. It was reflected in the mirror above his head. He lay in bed with the drippings. Boli the nurse said. Boli he said. More drippings. He floated in the distance. The glass castle of other lives. Moon liquor in mayo jars. Moon moats and moon pies. The dogs yelped in the forest. Birds flapped in the trees. The catch of the day flapped in the nets. Silverfish tunneled through the grains.


Sushi Nagato in Valencia. Now long internal orgasm. Across from Banana split and space egg. Bus 19. 20 min to the beaches of Valencia. There is one beach with many names. The sun is burny. Mojitos y cerveza. Rapido y rapido. A warm wind from the sea. Pigs ears in my belly. It is easy to sink into this chair.


In the bathtub your pubic region becomes a strange sea creature. You sink the ship in the water. You dunk the yellow ducks. When you get out of the bath you are old and wrinkly. It is the greatest surprise. You are only temporary. A hazy green sea floats beneath you. Three fates stir the cauldron with twigs. Hybrid creatures. Egg shaped vessels with sacerdotal meat transit. Sugar skulls. Aztec marigolds and candied pumpkins. Bread of skulls frosted with twisted bones. A dark dreambox of another kind.

Marcus Slease is a writer from Portadown, N. Ireland and Utah. His writing has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, featured in Best British Poetry 2015, translated into Polish and Danish, and has appeared, or is forthcoming, in many magazines and anthologies, including Tin House, Poetry, Daily Gramma, and Fence. He lives in Madrid, Spain and teaches English as a foreign language. His latest book, Play Yr Kardz Right, is available from Dostoyevsky Wannabe:

This originally appeared on December 17, 2017